In commercial real estate, keeping tenants happy is the key to a successful investment. It will increase your chances of renewals and could lower your cost of capital. At Culmen Real Estate Services, we earned a record-low interest rate on a property loan because our lender met the tenants and saw how happy they were with the property management and the building.
How can you help tenants love your property? The simplest answer is to follow the golden rule: Treat your tenants the way you’d want to be treated if you were in their shoes. We’ve found that there are five things that help keep your tenants happy..
1. Be proactive.
Real estate is not a passive investment. If you’re going to own property, you need to be actively managing it and staying aware of your tenants’ needs. Never assume your tenants are happy simply because you haven’t heard any complaints. It’s worth taking the time to personally check on your tenants, even if you trust your property manager.
2. Be responsive.
When tenants request changes, it’s better to give a quick response than to ignore the request. Whenever possible, make the answer yes, even if you have to find a creative solution. Your tenants are stakeholders in the decisions you make about your building. Bringing your tenants into those decisions builds closer relationships with them.
3. Pay attention to first impressions.
The lobby of your building makes the first impression that your tenants’ customers get. An outdated, dark, or dirty lobby can set the tone for the customer’s interaction with your tenant. As the building owner, you need to set your tenants up for success. A tenants’ impression of you needs to feel like you’re working hard to help them succeed.
4. Use third-party tenant surveys.
There are several third-party companies that conduct tenant relation surveys. These are a great way to get an unbiased look at how your tenants feel about their lease and about your property manager. You may completely trust your property manager, but it is worth entrusting gathering information from your tenants to a third party.
5. Support their business.
Take the time to understand the businesses of your tenants. It never hurts to provide your tenant a lead. When possible, support them by doing business with your tenants. If you have a restaurant in the building, cater office lunches with them. If leasing to a law firm, consider hiring them when you need legal services.
At Culmen, we have worked with many long-term commercial real estate investors. We understand the importance of maintaining good tenant relationships over long periods of time.